Climate tipping points

Yesterday I wrote, again, about our evolving environmental chaos. Ghastly Future

There is great urgency to do what we can to mitigate the damage we are doing because there a boundaries that, if broken, cannot be recovered from. There is increasing concern that we may have already reached some of these tipping points.

Through decades of research, and now lived experience, it has become clear that the impacts of climate change will have drastic and far-reaching consequences on our planet. And while some of those consequences are predictable — like more extreme weathersea-level rise and loss of biodiversity — the pace at which these unfold and their eventual severity hinge on what happens with key linchpins in the climate system, called tipping points.

A tipping point is a threshold or point of no return in the climate system that once passed can no longer be reversed. Passing a tipping point does not necessarily mean immediate, drastic consequences, but it does mean those consequences become unavoidable, and over time the impacts may be dramatic. 

In a 2019 paper, Professor Timothy Lenton, a global leader on the subject, identified nine climate tipping points, from melting permafrost in the Arctic to the loss of tropical coral reefs. Here we will focus on what he deems the three most critical tipping points: the Amazon rainforest, the West Antarctic ice sheet and the Gulf Stream system.

Climate tipping points may have been reached already, experts say

We may be about to pass – or may already have passed – tipping points in the Earth’s climate, according to a group of leading scientists.

The scientists analyzed evidence on these nine components of our climate system – called “tipping points” because they are under growing threat of abrupt and irreversible changes.

1. Amazon rainforest
2. Arctic sea ice
3. Atlantic circulation
4. Boreal forests
5. Coral reefs
6. Greenland ice sheet
7. Permafrost
8. West Antarctic ice sheet
9. Part of East Antarctica

9 climate tipping points pushing Earth to the point of no return by Rosamond Hutt, World Economic Forum, Dec 5, 2019

Passing one of these tipping points – from the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet to the loss of coral reefs and the Amazon rainforest – may increase the risk of crossing others, the scientists write in a commentary article in the journal Nature:

That article in Nature just mentioned includes the following graphic. Climate tipping points –too risky to bet against. The growing threat of abrupt and irreversible climate changes must compel political and economic action o emissions by Timothy Lentan et al, Nature, Nov 27, 2019

Following is a link to an interactive website related to climate change:
Tipping Points: Global Climate Change, Made Local – Climate Tipping Points There are links to a lot of resources.

Grist has a nice presentation on Points of No Return.
The 7 climate tipping points that could change the world forever – Grist | Grist

This entry was posted in climate change, climate refugees, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Climate tipping points

  1. Sustain blog says:

    Climate tipping points are listed but what could go first? Thank you 😊

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